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Our blog keeps you up to date with all the latest developments in the world of social business and enterprise.

Clare Jones Impact Investing and Good Money Week
Clare Jones, posted on 23.10.14

It's Good Money Week here in the UK, with hashtags and live chats everywhere. It meant a special supplement in The Times on Corporate Philanthropy (featuring our own great news that ClearlySo raised £800,000 to help us grow our support for entrepreneurs focused on impact), a Guardian Live Chat on Sustainable Investing and of course it won't be long now until the Good Deals conference on 24th & 25th November.

Rod Schwartz What a Difference a Decade Makes
Rod Schwartz, posted on 21.10.14

This piece was originally published in Real Business Magazine.

Around ten years ago I finally accepted failure in our efforts to raise what might have been the UK's first social impact fund.  In partnership with The Big Issue and Anita & Gordon Roddick from The Body Shop, we set out to change finance so that society benefits at the same time as investors, fund managers and entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of each meeting was spent explaining "social investing" and our efforts came to nought.

Five years later, that company spawned ClearlySo, launched "to help social entrepreneurs succeed".

Rod Schwartz Rodney Schwartz | Third Sector: Heroes of the social enterprise space
Rod Schwartz, posted on 07.10.14

This piece was originally published in Third Sector magazine.

Quite a bit has been going on the sector these last few weeks, offering an array of potential topics for discussion. However, the recent death of my good friend and colleague, Stephen Lloyd, whom I have described as the social impact investment sector's leading legal light, means that at this point in time my mind is on him and people like him. I wrote a piece to honour Stephen on our blog so I will not repeat myself. However, he was so significant that it would do him a disservice to neglect him in this piece.

Rod Schwartz My impressions of the reports by the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force
Rod Schwartz, posted on 25.09.14

Last Monday, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Francis Maude, the Cabinet Secretary, invited guests from the social investment industry to Downing Street for the launch of the first report by the G8 Social Investment Task Force (SITF). In addition to Osborne and Maude, Sir Ronald Cohen, who is chair of the Task Force, and Nick O'Donohoe, who is chair of the UK National Advisory Board, also spoke. There are times when I believe that such reports are a complete waste of time and of trees - this was certainly not one of those times! I felt that taken as a whole this was an extraordinarily positive event; as I have begun to wade through the dozen or so documents published I am increasingly impressed with the work of the various task forces, which has been divided up by topic and by country.

Rod Schwartz How mainstream investors react to talk of social impact
Rod Schwartz, posted on 12.09.14

At  ClearlySo, we perceive ourselves as being at the outer edge of social impact investment. We are focused on the place where mainstream investment and social impact investment connect; we speak regularly to the foundations and impact investment funds that have been pioneers in the sector, but we spend a large proportion of our time working with traditional mainstream investment organisations. The reason is simple: that's where most of the money is.

Jonny Kates Education technology specialist Insane Logic receives €1 million of investment
Jonny Kates, posted on 10.09.14

Insane Logic - the award winning social enterprise behind MyChoicePad - has this week received a further €1m of investment from Ananda Ventures. This latest round of investment builds on the £250,000 that ClearlySo were able to help raise for Insane Logic last year.

Krish Ayalasomayajula The challenges and opportunities of Social Investment Tax Relief
Krish Ayalasomayajula, posted on 03.09.14

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) has recently received Royal Assent as part of the Finance Bill 2014, and looks like a promising tool for social enterprises that are planning to raise investment anytime soon. I have been fortunate to work on a possible pipeline of ventures that might benefit from SITR during my summer internship at ClearlySo.

SITR is intended to support social enterprises to raise catalytic investment at a discount by offering individual investors a tax relief on debt and equity investments. The government has been proactive in initiating this new relief scheme, which is similar to the existing tax relief schemes to encourage investments into early stage ventures like EIS, SEIS in many ways but might as well apply on debt investments making it much more appealing to investors.

Rod Schwartz A Piece to Honour Stephen Lloyd: A Great Human Being
Rod Schwartz, posted on 21.08.14

A few hours ago I received an email telling me of the passing of my dear friend and colleague Stephen Lloyd. I have no doubt that over the coming days many from the social investment sector will share their thoughts and reflections about Stephen. As I sit at my dining table thinking about him I feel unable to easily come to terms with his sudden death--to ease my pain I feel compelled to write a few words about the man I knew and my experiences of him.


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Jonny Kates In defence of the one-for-one model: why innovation doesn't matter
Jonny Kates, posted on 14.08.14

One of the things I love most about working within the social business "˜movement' (for want of a better word) is being able to learn almost daily about an innovative new enterprise that's making a real impact. As a kid, I used to watch Tomorrow's World religiously to get my weekly hit of that specific emotional feeling that washes over you when you discover something innovative. I remember one episode in particular where an inventor called Trevor Baylis revealed his windup clockwork radio to presenter Carmen Pryce (who had nothing on Philippa Forrester by the way). Pretty cool I guess - a radio without the need for batteries - but it wasn't until later in the segment when Baylis explained that villagers in Somalia were trading rice rations for radio batteries that I felt that feeling wash over me. This regular middle aged guy in a plaid shirt and chinos has invented something that will improve the world.


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Rod Schwartz Third Sector | What happens in Monaco...
Rod Schwartz, posted on 11.08.14

Every year, the global fund management industry converges on a conference called  FundForum, which bills itself as "the world's largest fund management event". Unsurprisingly, fund managers from all over the world attend, as do suppliers and others seeking to service some of the world's professionally managed trillions.

This year's event in June was held, as previously, in embarrassingly opulent Monaco - which, for many reasons, did not seem the most inviting location for someone with social impact investments to peddle. Yet I had been asked to speak on a panel about investing ethically and for social impact. That such a session took place at such an event was most surprising, and I was particularly astounded that the was quite full - and, no, I had not paid people to attend.

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